Many of us make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, stop smoking or join the local gym or health club. While it is common to set high goals, research says that setting smaller goals could do more for our health. "Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine," says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Centre for Human Nutrition "They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change."
Here are 10 to try:
1. Keep an eye on your weight and work on making sure you are not gaining extra lbs. Even if you gain just a pound or two every few months, the extra weight adds up quickly.
2. Take more small steps. Use a pedometer or fitness tracker to count your daily steps, then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days. Make it fun, find a new route to walk the dog, take the kids on a nature hunt.
3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall. For a filling and nutrition-packed breakfast, top some homemade granola with fresh fruit like blueberries and banana, half a cup of oat milk and a spoonful of dairy-free coconut yogurt.
4. Switch three grain servings each day to whole grain. A study team discovered that 39% of children and teens and 42% of adults consumed NO whole grains AT ALL *shocked face* and just 3% of children and 8% of adults ate the recommended 3 daily servings. Try having some oats for breakfast with fresh fruit, lunch could be a wholemeal sandwich spread with hummus topped with salad leaves and cherry tomatoes, then dinner enjoy some lentil Bolognese (recipe can be found on my Facebook page) with brown pasta or spaghetti. Whole grains keep you feeling fuller for longer making you less likely to snack between meals and stabilize blood sugars.
5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing, I like to use a squeeze of lemon or lime or a dash of apple cider vinegar) is filling and may help you eat less during your main meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits. Make it as colourful as possible to get the best variety of vitamins and minerals.
Eat the Rainbow!
6. Trim the fat. Fat has a lot of calories, and calories add up quickly. If you eat meat then purchase lean meats, eat poultry without the skin, switch to lower-fat cheeses, use a non-stick pan with only a dab of oil or use a low calorie cooking spray.
7. Consider calcium from non-dairy sources, including two or three daily servings of low-fat fortified plant-based milks or yogurt. Calcium is good for bones and may also help you lose weight.
8. Downsize and eat mindfully. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat. Use a smaller plate when you serve up your meals or eat from a smaller bowl. Try to make your meal last 20min, enjoy each mouthful and listen to your body when it starts signalling its full.
9. Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge, you will lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. All good news for your long term health.
10. Keep track of your eating. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less. Stick a simple piece of paper on the fridge door and every time you eat jot it down. Another great idea is to use a tracking app that calculates your calories as you go, then look back at it and see where you can make small sustainable changes. They all add up.
For any help or advice starting your own journey to better health you can get in touch with me @ Cleanandhealthyliving2019@gmail.com